Evaluating a method of integrating generic skills with accounting content based on a functional theory of meaning
This paper documents and evaluates an intervention designed to integrate the learning of selected generic skills, particularly analytical thinking and written communication skills, with the learning of accounting content. The method used was to scaffold practice in analytical thinking skills through specially designed writing activities. Content-focused learning materials adapted from task-types currently used to teach language skills were used to facilitate the analysis and interrelation of accounting concepts, principles and problems in interpersonal communicative contexts typical of actual accounting practice. The materials, in three assignments, were designed to incorporate: (i) selected generic skills, taken from those listed by the professional accounting bodies; (ii) writing, both as communication and as an instrument for analytical thinking and learning; (iii) knowledge of accounting concepts and principles; and (iv) awareness of the interpersonal dimensions of professional communication. Overall, students showed improved learning outcomes, with improvements of 19 percentage points for non-Australian students over the three assignments. We were also able to show significant positive relationships between the assessments of assignments 2 and 3 and performance in the knowledge-based final examination. Improvements in the quality of learning were shown in students’ improved ability to assess their own work.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: March 1, 2007